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Fresh Farm Invasions Displace More Farmers

SENIOR government officials and suspected Zanu PF supporters have embarked on fresh evictions of
white commercial farmers across the country which is set to further undermine the nation’s food production, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.

The farm disturbances have reportedly affected at least 100 white farmers.

Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) president Trevor Gifford yesterday confirmed that farmers, who include a “large percentage” of those recently granted leave by a Sadc Tribunal to continue farming, could lose crops in excess of US$150 million due to the new wave of evictions.

This week two Mashonaland West farmers, Ben Freeth and Mike Campbell, accused Peter Chamada, a nephew of Zanu PF Information secretary Nathan Shamuyarira, and Zanu PF supporters of attempting to “invade” Mount Carmel farm in Chegutu.

“They were led by Peter Chamada, Nathan Shamuyarira’s nephew, as well as others claiming to be from the Lands office and from Shamuyarira’s office,” said the two farmers in a statement.

 “They gave my father-in-law, Mike Campbell, 10 minutes to pack all his belongings and get out of his house.  They said they did not care about the law or the police,” they said.

Contacted for comment on latest developments, Freeth yesterday said Chamada had not returned to the farm since Wednesday.

 Gifford said among the senior government officials involved in the farm invasions were the new Mashonaland Central governor Martin Dinha who allegedly ordered a Concession farmer to vacate his property.

“Earlier this month Advocate Dinha reportedly used police and government officials to evict a Concession farmer who had not been served with an eviction order,” Gifford said.

A district administrator identified as Chirapo and police inspector Nyamadzou assisted Dinha, according to the CFU.

The CFU also claimed that a Chipinge coffee farmer was forcibly evicted by district administrator Noel Mandeta before instructing police to detain the farm’s manager for three days without charge. The farmer, Gifford added, was now being charged for illegally farming on state land.

The CFU president said police senior assistant commissioner Edmore Veterai “continued to abuse his authority” earlier this month when he ordered a Chiredzi farmer to be evicted despite several court orders ruling against the eviction.

Zanu PF senator for Bindura-Shamva, Misheck Chando, according to the CFU, evicted a commercial farmer reportedly with links to a Malaysian partner, which could be a “major blow” to government’s controversial “Look East” policy.

Suspected Zanu PF supporters also reportedly evicted another farmer, Catherine Meredith, from her farm earlier this month.

Gifford criticised government for not upholding the Sadc Tribunal ruling despite being a signatory to the regional arbitration body.

“Parliament ratified the Sadc treaty in November 1992, so government excuses that this treaty has not been ratified are incorrect and the real position is that the Ministry of Justice has not domesticated this treaty into Zimbabwe law,” said Gifford.

“In reality the government is infringing the rights of people by not respecting laws which have been adopted by parliament. We call for this position to be ratified forthwith.”

The CFU president also appealed to new inclusive government to intervene to boost declining agricultural productivity.

“It is imperative that the conflict within the agricultural sector be resolved by allowing those who wish to participate in agricultural productivity to continue farming or to pay a fair and full compensation without delay,” Gifford said.

At least 200 evicted white commercial farmers have received partial compensation (2-10% of true value) since the 2000 chaotic land invasions, according to the CFU. 

Efforts to get comment from either Dinha or police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena were in vain Thursday.

BY BERNARD MPOFU

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